Millie & Me – the end of an era
So after threatening Millie Moo with the ‘For Sale’ advert every few months or so over the last few years I actually got to the point earlier this year of writing it, and not just writing it but posting it, and not just talking about selling her but I actually sold her *sobs hysterically*.
I can’t remember exactly at what point the threat became a reality but it was honestly the most heartbreaking decision I have ever had to make in my life. The fact of the matter was I wasn’t enjoying having a horse anymore, I had lost confidence around her and as much as I adored her (and still do) having a horse is too time consuming & expensive to not be having fun or reaching your goals. I knew Millie needed a more experienced owner and I needed a horse that had been there and done it and didn’t answer every question with ‘Why?’
I felt bad putting her up for sale and felt guilty that I couldn’t give her the home for life I had imagined when we bought her, I felt disappointed that despite all my efforts and all my dedication to her we just hadn’t progressed as I had planned and I felt incredibly sad that for whatever reason Millie just wasn’t the right horse for me, not at this stage in my life anyway.
I went backwards and forwards in my head with different options for Millie:
- Find a field and let her live her life as she wishes (eating and not being ridden) but apart from that feeling like a massive waste of her life, I just don’t have the time to go check on her twice a day and I would have got myself into a stressed mess worrying about her.
- Put her on loan as a broodmare – this was my top option. Millie had successfully bred one foal already, she would readily welcome a career break and she was stunningly good looking (albeit a little temperamental). This all sounded great until I thought about ‘what if she doesn’t get pregnant, will she come back? Then what?’ ‘What if she is treated badly, she will just be a breeding machine’, what if she dies during foaling’ – all these things went through my mind and I realised she probably wouldn’t be part of someone’s family and she wouldn’t be loved and they wouldn’t care that she can say please and thank you. That made me sad. For all her faults I loved Millie and she was a huge part of our family and I didn’t want her just being a broodmare. Also she hadn’t actually proved herself to be any good at anything yet so there was an element of guilt about just adding to the horse population just because I was too sentimental to say goodbye to her.
- Sentimental yes but also very conscious she could very easily fall into the wrong hands and end up at dealer yard after dealer yard so the majority of enquiries I received never even got a reply. I had 16 year old girls wanting her on loan for the summer, they assured me they were established and confident riders as they had been having lessons at a riding school for 6 months! I had older women wanting a nice, quiet hack as they had lost their confidence with their last horse – what part of NOT A NOVICE RIDE isn’t clear? I had people wanting to ‘fix her’, ‘break her’, ‘tell her who’s boss’ and ‘take her on as a challenge for the summer’ – no thank you! Firstly you don’t ‘tell’ Millie anything, and secondly she didn’t need ‘fixing’, she just needed someone that wasn’t going to be intimidated by her and someone that was used to highly strung sports horse types that had the time, patience and experience to channel Millie’s erratic energy into something half productive and who would love her for the sweet natured horse that she was and not get despondent with the two steps back that were inevitably going to happen every 6 weeks.
Thankfully out of the blue one night while I was sat on the beach with a beer contemplating what an earth I was going to do with Millie and thinking that I would just keep her after all I received a call from a lovely woman called Chloe who had noticed Millie’s breeding in the advert and who had other horses with her bloodline who were just as quirky and she described Millie down to a tee.
It was apparent from that quick conversation on the phone that Chloe loved her horses very much, they all had characters which she embraced, they all had their ‘funny’ days which she ignored and above all they were all happy, healthy and part of her family.
We (Millie & Me) met Chloe, she was kind, knowledgeable, ambitious and straight away Millie listened to her and for the first time ever someone had a proper plan for Millie’s future.
Millie had a new mummy and I was relieved that someone like Chloe wanted to take a chance on her, I was excited as I did and still do truly believe Millie is capable of great things with the right person.
It was the hardest goodbye even though I knew it was the right decision for both of us. I had thrown myself fully into Millie and hated the feeling of giving up on her. I knew she would never be replaced in terms of character and I loved her whole-heartedly so it was no surprise that tears, tissues and quite a few more tears dominated the morning of Millie’s departure.
We waved her off in her big lorry through bleary eyes and watched her disappear up the lane and I stared at my phone until Chloe called to say she had landed safe and sound and was stuffing her little furry face.
She did land safe and sound and is loving the routine of her new home – in her head she is already a competition horse bless her. She is coming on leaps (literally) and bounds but I’m glad to report she has lost none of her character and still has her madam Millie diva moments.
I look forward to my weekly Millie updates from Chloe and can’t wait to go see her strut her stuff next year. They love her; they see the amazing little horse the other side of the temperamental madam and they have embraced her ‘special’ personality traits.
This is the start of the next chapter for Millie & Me, I believe we will both get there in the end – we just couldn’t do it together…
I miss Millie, I think I will always miss Millie but as one ramp goes up, another one comes down and off that ramp stepped a handsome, chestnut TB gelding.
The future’s bright, the future’s Red!